Mary Waters (Niles) Shepley


Mary Waters (Niles) Shepley, of Bedford, MA died peacefully and gently on April 8, 2023. 

Born on March 19, in 1932, she had just celebrated her 91st birthday with family. Daughter of the late Judge Emory H. Niles and Anne W. Niles of Baltimore, Maryland, Mary Waters (“MW”) came to Boston to attend Radcliffe College after graduating from the Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore.  At Radcliffe she met her husband Hugh Shepley, an undergraduate at Harvard.  Hugh became a successful architect in Boston, following the family footsteps, and in 1958 they moved from Beacon Hill in Boston to Manchester, MA, on the North Shore.  There they raised two boys, Hamilton N. “Tony” Shepley of West Hyannisport and Philip F. “Pip” Shepley of Belmont.

After 67 years of marriage, she was predeceased by Hugh in 2017.  She leaves her two sons, their wives, Lorraine Shepley, and Martha Wakefield, two grandsons, “Niles” Henry Hayden Shepley and Charles “Cole” Richardson Shepley, 13 nieces and nephews, plus numerous cousins.  She was the sister of the late Nancy Primrose and Ham Niles.

Mary Waters has always been a joiner and a doer.  She was a fantastic worker and excelled at whatever she pursued, refusing to settle for anything less than her best.  As a college counselor at the Pingree School in the 1970’s she was soon awarded the Counsellor Award by the New England Association of College Counsellors.  She volunteered for numerous causes including mental health and the Brookwood School where she served as a Trustee as well as President of the Parents Association.  

The Trustees of Reservations was her passion, and she served on the Advisory Council and was a Board member until the 20 years term limit.  She also served as Vice President of the Trustees for six years and chaired the Semper Virens Society, the Nomination Committee, the Development Committee, and the Northeast Regional Advisory Council plus co-chairing several other committees.  The Trustees honored her forty years’ service by making her a Life Trustee in 2008.

She avidly participated in the Tavern Club, the Nucleus, the Essex County Club, the Tuesday Club, and the Manchester Yacht Club. MW and Hugh were very active cruisers from Buzzards Bay to Canada on several sailing vessels eventually transitioning to a powerboat.  In later years MW and Hugh took vicarious cruises by poring over marine charts to revisit favorite cruising grounds.  Everywhere MW went in life she knew people to the constant amazement of her family.  She had a fantastic memory of family history and could trace the lineage of just about anyone off the top of her head.

About 20 years ago, MW and Hugh moved from Manchester to Carleton Willard Village, a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Bedford, MA.  She has always been a staunch advocate for the CCRC model based on the idea of maintaining independence while not being a burden to society, family, and friends.  She more than practiced what she preached and took tremendous care of her husband Hugh during his last decade of life.  She was principled, dedicated, tireless, thoroughly organized and always enthusiastic.  Her moral compass never deviated. MW was an ardent conservationist and besides her devoted connection with The Trustees of Reservations, she served on the Green Team at Carleton Willard.  For years the bumper sticker on her car read “When you throw something away, where is ‘Away’?”.  And she continued to deplore bad grammar until the end.

A Celebration of Mary Waters’ life will take place on Saturday, June 3 at 2 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church, 81 Elm Street, Concord, MA.  Please join the family afterwards for a reception with light refreshments.  For those who wish to attend remotely via Church livestream, please access the following link:  The service will also be posted to for later viewing.  

If you plan to attend, please RSVP to by May 20 for planning purposes.

In lieu of flowers, MW asked that donations be made to The Trustees of Reservations, 200 High St, 4th Floor, Boston, MA 02110 or online at under “Support”, then “Legacy Giving”. 

Arrangements are entrusted to Dee Funeral Home & Cremation Service of Concord, MA.

shepley, the trustees of reservations, environment of the united states, hugh shepley, massachusetts, lorraine shepley, anne w. niles, architect, radcliffe she, hamilton, bedford, harvard, ham niles, protestant episcopal church, nancy primrose, maryland